The Outlook also notes that while the 25% expected drop in CO2 emissions is substantial, much more will be needed to reach society’s emission-reduction goals. This means the world needs to dramatically scale up lower-emission solutions like carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and biofuels.
These critical technologies will require government policy support, significant advances in technology, and ultimately the development of a “carbon economy” where society pays for carbon reductions.
We don’t have a crystal ball at ExxonMobil. But, as a company that has been meeting the evolving needs of society for the past century and a half, we do have a good sense of where the world could be headed.
The people behind the numbers
A final thought: Despite the charts, the graphs, and the reams of data, the Global Outlook isn’t an academic exercise.
In the end, it’s not about numbers. It’s about people.
That’s what the data represent: real people, living real lives, each with their own hopes and aspirations for a better future.
The most dramatic implications of the doubling of global GDP by 2050 are reserved for those who live in so-called developing nations, non-OECD countries such as India, China, Ethiopia, Niger, and many others in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The story of the next few decades will be their story
Virtually all of the expected growth in global economic output will take place in their home nations, where an astounding number of people are expected to rise from poverty into the global middle class.
In the coming weeks, we plan to highlight several such stories here on exxonmobil.com – profiles of some of our employees who have grabbed hold and climbed the rungs of the economic ladder thanks in large measure to modern, reliable, affordable energy.
I hope you’ll join us as we explore their journeys.
Chris Birdsall is director of economics and energy for Corporate Strategic Planning at ExxonMobil.